Baby Potty Training Cuts down on Diaper Use

It sounds a bit crazy, doesn’t it?  Asking a tiny baby to be able to control her bodily functions?  I thought so too. These days I’m firmly aboard the early potty training bandwagon now that my eight month old baby regularly poops on the potty.

I wouldn’t have remotely thought about perching my first child on the toilet simply because I had no friends or family who had ever attempted it. But when we wrote our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down-To-Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet, I learned more about infant potty training and found it fascinating.

My daughter’s first poop on the potty was a total accident. She was perched on our wood floor, bare bottomed due to a slight diaper rash.  When she started to strain a bit, my husband and I scooped her up and set her on the potty. It worked!
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Money Saving Monday: Green Baby Guide’s Top Ten Penny Pinching Posts

Today marks our final in a series of posts dedicated to saving cash while keeping the environment in mind.  (Check here, here, and here for some great frugal blog resources to support your money saving efforts.)  Over the past two years we’ve written dozens of posts on budget friendly, earth friendly practices, but we’ve picked our favorites to help you save money in 2010.saving-money-and the planet

  • Did you know that there’s one brand of high quality, name brand green laundry soap that’s far cheaper than even generics? Check this post to see how you can save money and the planet while tossing those yam-encrusted baby bibs into the wash.
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Biokleen Laundry Detergent Update

Breaking news: one year and three months after writing this cost-comparison of eco-friendly laundry detergents, I’m still using my Biokleen laundry detergent. I think I got my money’s worth out of that old ten-pound box. In that post, I discovered that Biokleen was actually cheaper than even conventional cheap detergent, especially with a high-efficiency machine.

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 My child’s diaper days are now behind me, but I used the Biokleen powder on both pocket diapers and prefold diapers and never had a problem with residues or detergent build-up. (Read Joy’s post about diaper-friendly detergents here.) I also like the detergent for all of our other clothes. My only complaint is that the powder didn’t dissolve completely if I put it in the detergent compartment of my front-loading machine. I took care of that problem by putting the powder straight in the machine over my laundry.
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Going Green with a Second Child

exhausted mothers and green challengesHaving  our first child was a completely humbling experience.  My husband and I, two normally competent people, found ourselves up to our elbows in parenthood and more exhausted than we ever knew we could be.  Now with our second we know it’s possible to be even more bedraggled and groggy.

It’s so hard to manage a newborn and an almost three year old!  Our little one needs to be held ninety percent of the time while our older son is struggling for attention and challenging his limits.  In the midst of this happy/crazy drama, cloth diapers need to be washed, the compost needs to go out and the garden has to be watered.
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Summer Reminder: Hang Your Laundry to Dry!

With the sun shining and temperatures soaring, there’s really no reason to use the dryer.  Sure, it can be somewhat of a hassle to work hanging your wet clothes on the line into your schedule, but think about the advantages!

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  • You’ll save about $.50 a load when you let the sun and air do the work instead of your dryer. If you wash a load every day (about average for a family of four), you’ll save $182.00 a year!
  • Every load you toss in the dryer emits around one to five pounds of carbon into the atmosphere. Hanging dry, on the other hand, doesn’t harm the planet a bit.
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A Simple, Eco-Friendly Solution for Stinky Diapers: Use Hydrogen Peroxide in Place of Chlorine Bleach

Have you ever pulled supposedly clean diapers out of the washer only to find that they’re nearly as stinky as when they went in?  What’s the problem?  It could be a variety of factors including the iron content in your water, the laundry soap you’re using, or synthetic fabrics. 

The other day I stumbled across an amazing solution: hydrogen peroxide!  It turns out that plain old hydrogen peroxide will provide you with your own homemade version of non-chlorine bleach. 

For the wash: Add a quarter cup of hydrogen peroxide to each           washload or a bit more for very full or dirty loads.  

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Making Homemade Non-Chlorine Bleach

Mildew is my nemesis, but I much prefer it to the fumes of chlorinated bleach. Even though chlorine is very hard on the environment and our health, it’s found in a wide variety of household cleaners—all of which I’ve now replaced with homemade versions.  The one hurdle we hadn’t quite overcome was bleach. So the last time we desperately needed to clean out the shower I asked my husband to purchase chlorine-free bleach to save the environment and my nose.

When we read the label on the container we were a bit shocked.  The ingredients were simply hydrogen peroxide and water.  Why then did we pay too much when we could have made it ourselves? 

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The Saturday Question: How often do you wash cloth diapers?

Some of you wash every other day while others let the loads build up for over a week before tossing them in the wash.  What would you recommend as a washing schedule for those just getting started?  How frequently do you have to launder them so that smell isn’t an issue?  We all have different tricks for keeping those diapers clean while cutting down our workload.  What are yours?

The Saturday Question: Did you use a Laundromat or coin-op machines for cloth diapers?

People are often shocked by cloth diapers, but as we’ve learned firsthand, it’s really no big whoop to wash diapers yourself.  We are impressed, however, by the families who cart their diaper laundry to coin operated machines a few times a week.  If you are just such a family, we’d like to know how you do it.  Rebecca wrote a post on washing diapers in public machines here, but we’d appreciate even more input.  Did you spend a lot of money on laundry?  Are there machines in your building or do you have to travel to a Laundromat?  Have you gotten any negative or positive responses from other Laundromat customers or building tenants?  Would you recommend it to someone else?  Thanks for sharing your experiences and wisdom with our readers!

Green Idea: Reduce Your Overall Amount of Laundry

In the early days of the Green Baby Guide, I admitted to some baby “rules” I violate to save the planet.  One of them is separating baby clothes from the rest of the laundry–a guideline I heard during our childbirth class and read in various baby books and websites.   I am not sure what the reasoning behind that bit of advice is; certainly if someone in the house has a contagious illness there are easier ways to catch it than wearing clothes that have been washed in the same load.

The average family of four does more than seven loads of laundry a week.  Many people wash even more than that, according to the answers to this Yahoo question.  We (three of us) don’t do any more than three–maybe four–loads a week, and that includes diaper laundry! (We also use cloth napkins and dish towels instead of paper towels.)   Reducing the amount of laundry you do can save thousands of gallons of water, not to mention electricity.  If you have a 40 gallon top-loading machine and wash a load a day, you’re using over 14,000 gallons of water to wash your clothes every year!  Tumble drying all those clothes could release as much as 1,825 pounds of carbon into the atmosphere in a year’s time, depending on where you live.
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